Monday, 10 September 2012

PC Sawyer - being briefed

This is the first part of PC Sawyer's examination at the Hutton Inquiry on 2 September:

Examined by MR KNOX
Q. Mr Sawyer, what is your full name?
A. Jonathan Martyn Sawyer.
Q. Your occupation?
A. I am a police constable with the Thames Valley Police, stationed on the police search team the same as PC Franklin.
Q. Which station?
A. That would be from the Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park.
Q. What are your qualifications?
A. I am a qualified EOD searcher, which is explosive
ordnance searcher. We have to be licensed by the Home Office and we retrain on a periodic basis. We also train to search major crime scenes, murder scenes and any major event. We search events like Royal Ascot, which we call a defensive search, to make sure there are no explosive devices left. We also do offensive searches or crime scene searches, as the Dr David Kelly search.

Q. I understand you are a search team leader?
A. I am a search team leader, which means I have done a further course which enables me to actually run a search. Police Constable Franklin, being the police search adviser, will liaise with the senior investigating officer. They will decide on the parameters of the search, what they want searched. It is then turned over to me to organise the logistics of it, to plan the search, do the cordons, to set the searchers going and supervise them while they are searching.
Q. You were on duty on the morning of 18th July?
A. Yes.
Q. What happened when you first turned up?
A. I was called out, I believe, about 6 o'clock in the morning to attend Abingdon police station for 8, where I was informed by PC Franklin we had a high risk missing person. We had a missing person who was identified to me as Dr Kelly. 

Q. Just pause there for a moment. A high risk missing person, meaning what?
A. "High risk" means that there is a possibility that because of the length of time they have been missing there is a possibility that he might have done himself harm. 

The possibility that Dr Kelly might have done himself harm is accepted by 8 o'clock, the time at which the volunteer searchers are commencing their walk up the track to Harrowdown Hill.  Had the two SEBEV members ever found a suicide before?  They would I suppose have been trained to accept that their searches might end with finding a dead body but usually I imagine the outcome would be a happier one than occurred here.

Q. So Police Constable Franklin tells you that. Then what happens?
A. Then we are in the briefing that Police Constable Franklin has already described. We are just about to leave to perform our first searches, which would have been in the village and the surrounding areas of the route he was thought to have taken, when information came in that a body had been found. I then left with Police Constable Franklin to attend the scene.
Q. Can you remember what time it was that that information came in?
A. It would have been about 9 o'clock, I believe.

The phrase used by Sawyer 'the route he was thought to have taken' is interestingIs this based on the assumption that he had indeed gone to Harrowdown Hill and that he would have taken the most direct route to get there?

Paul Chapman's 999 call was clocked at 09.20  which puts Sawyer's recall of the time about 20 minutes too early.  In my opinion this isn't a detail that a police officer would ordinarily record in his notebook.

Q. So you then leave with Police Constable Franklin?
A. Yes.
Q. And anyone else?

A. We had three other officers in the back who we took from the search team to act as the cordons, because obviously we do not want members of the public or members of the press approaching the scene until it has been obviously searched and declared sterile.   

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